Does your business have a public relations strategy? Do you think that applying just a marketing strategy is enough for your business? No matter how small the business, a public relations strategy is essential to your success - but for small businesses, it could be the difference between succeeding and failing.
Public relations is not just for large corporations—even a small business benefits from good public relations. To have good public relations does not mean you need to hire an expensive PR firm. To develop a plan, think about your audience. This includes more than just customers. Additional members of your audience may be local media or employees. Use these additional resources to communicate your message.
Don't shy away from media, but instead use it as another tool to communicate and reach a larger audience. By hearing positive information from a third party, consumers are more likely to engage in communications with your business. If an employee enjoys working for a company, that person may tell others about the good work of your business. Your internal communications are just as important as your external communications.
Also, think about how your audience wants to communicate with your company and receive information. Your message must be timely and well thought-out to impact your audience. Be sure to include a crisis communications strategy in your plan. In a crisis, PR can go a long way to show the public that you are open and honest. How you handle a crisis will determine how your business or brand is viewed in the aftermath.
Here are five reasons your small business needs a PR strategy:
You Are a Small Business. When you engage in public relations you position your small business as a much larger entity. As your business receives coverage through radio, blogs and other print publications, your audience assumes that you are a large, established organization. There is no better tool for a little fish in a big sea than some good PR coverage.
No One Knows About Your Small Business. One of the most frustrating components for the small business owner is the constant problem of trying to establish visibility for yourself and your company. Public relations brings you that needed exposure quickly and efficiently. As you execute your PR plan, you create a “massive visibility campaign” for your small business.
Getting The “Word Out” Is the Most Important Factor. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the quality of your product or service isn’t the most important factor in attaining new customers and clients. (Although quality is an incredibly important factor in keeping existing customers and clients.) If your prospects and customers are going to do business with you, they must be able to find you. Therefore, divide your time between tweaking and perfecting your products and services and “getting the word” out to your prospects.
Traditional Marketing Isn’t As Effective. Direct advertising methods such as TV and radio commercials aren’t as effective as they were several years ago. Today’s prospects just don’t trust traditional forms of advertising and are much more willing to do business with companies that they know and trust. A good PR campaign can create hundreds of positive stories about you and your company.
You Have Competitors. Virtually every small business owner has dozens, if not hundreds of competitors. One of the best ways to outshine your competition is to seize PR opportunities such as radio, print and online coverage. Chances are that your competitors haven’t put together a comprehensive PR campaign, so you might as well use this to your advantage.